'Tis the Season of Giving: A Gift Guide from Me to You to You

Hello friends,

In all honesty, there are only three things that you should be giving yourself this year. I’ve seen a lot of fashion bloggers out there attempting to shill what I like to call “pre-pandemic wear” AKA things that do not involve elastic. Let’s be honest though…those have no place in our lives at the present moment.

In honor of realism, I’d like to share with you the three things to add to your holiday wishlist and no, they are not from Nordstrom lol.

  1. Sweatpants (less than $25; on average about $10 for most colors): I shamelessly own them in every color. I always buy means sweatpants because I’m tall, but for some reason they also just feel more comfy. The only downside is that they lack pockets, so no storage place for your tater tots Napoleon. Believe it or not…they perform the same function as those $50 dollar ones that you see everywhere 👀
  2. Sweatshirts (less than $20; on average about $15 for most colors): I also own these sweatshirts in many colors. Comfort Colors sweatshirt are notoriously comfortable and these do not fail to disappoint.
  3. Socks (less than $20 for a pack of five; some color ways are cheaper): I own these as well. They are so freaking warm. They are the perfect socks for the cold snap that we’ve been enduring at the present moment.

Yours always,

EM

New Year, New America, Same Me?

Hello friends,

I am back after a nice, long break. I hope that you been doing well. Current mood: drinking a nice cab suav and listening to Lana del Rey. Bare with me….it’s unfortunately gone straight to my head hah.

As I sit here on a lazy Saturday night, I am left reflecting on the current state of affairs both in my personal life and in the context of the nation in which I live. I’ve yet to understand the wonder of the new year. Maybe it’s due to the fact that not much has changed. A change in regime doesn’t lead to sudden, magnificent change. In the same breath, the ringing in of a new calendar year does not promise the same.

I know that it’s late to address the new calendar year, but if you haven’t noticed a trend around here I like to get distance in order to reflect. I am not one to jump quickly to conclusions or decisions. I digress, but I think the point of this post is to question what the hell I’m actually doing with my life. It may be the wine or the melancholy of my queen Lana’s voice, but it’s two months into the new year and I have yet to feel that spark that seems to hit some individuals. I personally hate new year’s resolutions, but I can’t help but subconsciously make them. Unfortunately, I’ve set myself up for failure yet again.

I have such an intense fear of failure that I am constantly neglecting things that need to be done or perpetually postponing them. I spoke to a friend the other day about my present discouragement. She gave me some sound advice. She told me that “You can only work with what you have right now. You can’t make decisions for the future because you don’t have that moment and the knowledge/ circumstances that may accompany it. You can only make decisions for this present moment because that’s all you have. A series of moments.” (BTW thank you love). It was freeing. I guess that I just wanted to share. Instead of being shackled to your past and crippled by your future, I encourage you look a your life as a series of these small moments where you are completely in control. Do not let hypotheticals dictate your everything.

I am determined to avoid the same mistakes and traps that I consistently find myself in. You can’t be trapped while living in the moment. So yes it is a new year, I hope that it’s a new America, and every moment breeds a new me. I’ve grown just by existing. I know one more thing that I knew a moment ago. I have more knowledge that I once did. It gives me a sense of peace. I feel more empowered to tackle small changes in my life. For instance, I cooked for the first time in a really long time. I love cooking, but it takes so much mental energy that I do not have most days. I had to challenge myself to break the task into a series of moments. Making the decision to fill the pot, making the decision to heat the stove, and so on and so forth.

I hope that this helps even one person out there. I also hope that this was coherent. I’m vibing too much to do a re-read haha.

I hope that y’all enjoy your weekends.

Yours always,

EM

First Date Chronicles(4): A Meditation on Singleness and Situationships

Happy Saturday my friends!

I wanted to talk to you all about something that has been on my mind a lot lately. Singleness and its implications in the world of online dating.

Online dating has created a strange culture surrounding dating and relationships. We’ve formed a very transactional view regarding our connections with others. This has led to a number of cultural phenomenons such as the slow fade, ghosting, and even gaslighting (Side note: it’s an excellent movie. I encourage you to check it out. Ingrid Bergman is phenomenal). One thing that the tangled web of online dating has shown is that we crave genuine human connection, but many of us are afraid of the implications. We have created a world in which relationships can be formed and broken by matching and just disappearing. We’ve learned not to value human connection and yet we crave it. How may times must me encounter a just casual to come to this realization? What even is a just casual? What is the point of having a relationship without the commitment or the emotional engagement? At the end of the day, no one wants to be alone and online dating has given individuals a way of taking numerous short-cuts to having someone. I’m not saying that it’s impossible to find genuine connection, but it is certainly quite difficult particularly in certain age groups. I’m also not judging anyone for taking this route. It’s just not necessarily for me. All of this has come to light in the midst of me forming what many would lovingly call a “situationship”.

Unlike most situationships, mine lacks all physicality, but it involves a lot of emotional intimacy. I find myself in a friendship with the emotional intimacy typically associated with a romantic relationship. To start, yes I did meet this individual on a dating app. I’m not even sure how we matched to be honest. He told his sister that it’s due to the fact that I didn’t see how short he is…he’s probably right. Sue me! What started as casual conversation slowly turned into daily calls for hours. Suddenly, something clicked in me. Perhaps it’s the avoidant in me, but as the emotional intimacy grew I found myself pushing him away. Not necessarily as a friend, but as a potential romantic interest. I hate the word “friend zone”, but it’s exactly what I’ve done. I must admit that I do have feelings for him, but as soon as I was faced with the prospect of true intimacy I turned away from it– potentially robbing myself of something that could be good for me. I’m waiting in vain for us to reach that dreaded impasse where we must confront the obvious mess that we’ve created. I’m not certain how I’ve found myself in this position yet again. It seems to be becoming a trend. Perhaps, I’m the secondary component of casual. There’s the individual with which someone might share physical intimacy and there’s another individual with which they share emotional intimacy. It is easy for romantic relationships to dissipate especially since there is always another option that is just a swipe away. I suppose that some part of myself can acknowledge that I find solace in not having to lose the potential emotional intimacy that comes with the dissolving of a romantic relationship. I’m beginning to question whether or not my current perspective is the symptom of the disease or a cause of it. Perhaps, deep down we’ve all come to fear vulnerability and the fear of loss that can come with it. We’ve created a world in which we never have to feel it. In the age of connectedness, we’re more hidden than ever before.

Let me know what you think!

Yours always,

EM

Lessons from Therapy: The Importance of Discomfort

Hello my friends,

I wanted to share with you one of the important lessons that I learned from therapy…the importance of discomfort. I think it goes hand in hand with the heaping dose of patience that therapy teaches you.

Discomfort is necessary for change to happen. This fact of life has yet to fail me. Whether it be a waistband that’s too tight or a relationship that doesn’t feel quit right, discomfort holds a mirror to your current situation and gives you the insight that leads you to change. When we ignore what our inner voice is telling us, we not only allow ourselves to be trapped in unsavory situations but we also limit ourselves from reaching our full potential. The next time that you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation lean into it. Listen to what the frame of mind is telling you. Oftentimes, we limit ourselves by failing to acknowledge the truth that is right in front of us.

One of the things that I am working on in therapy is my fear of failure. Unfortunately, by some cruel twist fate you cannot work through lifelong issues without failing every now and then. This is probably one of the most frustrating things about consciously working on yourself. There is no such thing as being perfect. There is only better and sometimes better is “worse” than where you started. It’s the non-linear pathway that growth often takes. Growth, the albatross that it is, breeds an immense amount of discomfort. For every step forward, there is a potential for a backslide that will leave you reeling. In conclusion, there is no growth without discomfort.

I hope you all find peace and enlightenment in your discomfort.

Yours always,

EM

An Ode to Rainy Sundays and Gratitude

Hello my friends! Long time no speak…

I don’t know about y’all, but this holiday season has been ROUGH. Nothing about it seems to make sense. On this rainy Sunday afternoon as I cuddle up with Wentworth, I’ve begun what has become my favorite holiday tradition. A form of self-care amidst the craziness of holiday season. Thankfully this tradition is very much doable and perhaps needed in the times in which we are living. The one tradition that I’ve decided to carry on this year is my mid- December gratitude list.

Unlike most people, I like to postpone my Thanksgiving meditations until after the holiday has passed. There are several reasons why I do this. After a few years, the gratitude starts to all sound the same. Another reason why I postpone it, is due fact that we immediately roll from the season of Thanksgiving into the season of abundant consumerism. That fact has always seemed incredibly ironic to me. In order to combat this sudden paradigm shift that we undergo each and every year, I started the tradition of saving my gratitude for December — in the midst of endless Christmas lists, the feeling of not having enough, or not doing enough. This always grounds and me positions me to start the new year off without feeling as if I am lacking.

I encourage you to actually take time to do this. Take a break from the stress, the endless new cycles, and the Monday scaries. Truly take the time to compose this list and pin it somewhere where you will see it. This can carry you through and can serve as a nice reminder as you make your new year’s list, if you make one at all.

The two thing that I am most grateful for this year are time and love. Time has been one of my greatest gifts. It has given me the space to grieve, lent me moments of deep reflection, and blessed me with my last moments with my mother. Love has given me strength. Amidst this season of uncertainty and loss, I have learned to never underestimate the power of love. To my friends, I love you dearly. More than you will ever know. Thank you for bringing light to my darkness and joy to my sorrow. I am grateful for each and every one of you. Being loved by you is one of the most beautiful gifts that I have ever been given.

That’s all folks! I hope that you have a happy Monday and that you take some time to show yourself some love.

Yours always,

EM

Bacon: It's Good for Me

Happy Wednesday my friends,

After taking a much needed break from the blog to decompress, I decided to hop on and write a quick lighthearted post to potentially brighten your day during these very tense times.

First of all, take a deep breath. We will all be okay.

B.A.C.O.N

B-Bad

A- Attitudes

C-Can’t

O-Overcome

N-Nothin’

Bacon. Forgive me, the grammar, but it gets the point across. Bacon: it’s so damn good for me. It’s my little treat. The crunch, the hint of saltiness, the guilty grease, it’s so damn good for me. It challenges me to savor each bite. It pulls me from my vacuousness. It rouses me from my proverbial sleep. Bacon, when savored properly, allows for one to understand that too much of one sense can be a bad thing. That balance is key to an enlivened experience. That we all have those mornings where we wake up on the wrong side of the bed or rather election race haha. Umami, the dream, a bite with equality of senses. An overwhelming sense of peace.

We are a nation of people and we must remember this as we move forward. Regardless of the outcome, remember that bacon is good for you. Go with love my friends.

Yours Always,

EM

First Date Chronicles (3): Somebody Call Poison Control Because There’s Some Toxic Masculinity Invading My Space (Part II)

Happy Wednesday my friends,

Welcome back to my date with the douche, or as I’ll call him Putin. If you missed out on last week’s post, I encourage you to hop on there before reading this one. It will give you the full effect.

As a quick intro, I had a date with the most toxically masculine individual that I’ve ever met. Let’s begin…

One of the worst parts of dating during quarantine is the limited options when it comes to date locations. Unfortunately, this date was hosted at my place (this will serve as an important plot point later in the story). After having a 2-hour conversation filled with red flags the day of the date, I started to question whether or not I even wanted to go through with it. When he suggested tacos, my doubting immediately ceased.

It was action time, he rode up on his horse (technically a Ford crossover). I was greeted with a What’sApp notification from Putin that said and I quote: “Daddy’s home”. As you can imagine, it took a lot of willpower to answer the door after that.

For reference

He was immediately greeted with a warm welcome from Wentworth. I figured that was enough of a welcome, so I reached for the bag of tacos and walked towards the kitchen without even acknowledging his presence. If you can’t tell, I was beyond done before the date even began. To my surprise, he was actually quite charming. I thought that perhaps he just had trouble getting his points across as he had taught himself english. In fact, I had to teach him earlier in the day that bratty is actually not a term of endearment. I realized at that point that no woman had ever challenged him likely because of his looks and intimidating physical presence.

As I slowly started unpacking the tacos I noticed something strange. There was a stack of six, but only one was the type that I ordered. I asked him why he only brought one taco for me. Putin confidently replied: “It’s healthier for you”.

My Response

I decided to keep it classy since that’s the way my mom raised me. I will admit to passively aggressively chewing my ONE taco trying to get as much air in as possible to help quell my hunger. Our dinner conversation started quite light. He could be funny if he wanted to be, BUT then it happened. Somehow he managed to turn the topic of conversation to gender roles– an apparent obsession for him. He commented upon how I kept house and said that it was “more than acceptable”. He said that only women should be nurses and that males make better surgeons. I clapped back as the kids say. I had to explain the barriers that affect women entering into certain professions and the stigmas associated with men entering culturally “feminine” careers. He said that “being bad at something because you are a woman is not a barrier”. I honestly thought that I was being trolled at this point. The rest of the dinner consisted of heated debates regarding his backwards beliefs. To my surprise, he thought that the date was going well so he wanted to watch a movie. I thought “why not?!”. His ignorance had almost become amusing at this point.

I didn’t know that it was possible to be a toxically masculine Netflix watcher, but apparently it is. I picked up the remote and he snatched it out of my hand before I even had a chance to turn the tv on. I honestly froze…I realized that he reveled in wielding his physical dominance over others. I sat as far away as possible from him which he apparently took as an invitation to move closer. As we were trying to decide upon movies, I gave up on voicing my opinion because he would respond with “Dear, and then something condescending”. We, forgive me he, decided upon a movie. He then decided to turn his attention towards my relationship with Wentworth. He complained that I let Wentworth cuddle with me on the couch. He said that I should never put a dog before a man, and that going forward he would be the new King of my castle. He told me that I should put him outside, so that we could be alone. When I told him that Wentworth gets anxiety at night, he replied “Does it look like I care? I’m the man”. No one comes for my dog like that. I was pissed. I wanted him gone.

I tried pretending to be asleep. He took that as an invitation to wake me up with a kiss. I stopped him and told him that I like to take things slow. Nevertheless, he persisted. How brave of him right?! I then decided that plan was not going to work. While thinking of my next tactic, he decided to grab my face and kiss me again. I stopped him again and told him that I wanted to take things slow. He said that he didn’t understand the problem since I’ve kissed a man before. Ummm what?! I then pulled out the good ol’ fashioned it’s getting late and I’ve had a long day. He replied that he brought a toothbrush and we can get some rest. That’s when I really started panicking. I realized that I was trapped.

I came to the realization that I had one tool left to try and get him to leave, but it was risky for me…I had to use his toxic masculinity against him. This time I initiated the kiss. I drew him into it. I pretended to melt into his embrace. As soon as I felt the confidence in his kiss, I pushed him away. I told him that I tried, but it just wasn’t good. He immediately popped up, put on his shoes, grabbed his keys and left. I kid you not. He said that he wasn’t going to grovel on his knees like a little schoolboy. He admitted to having a big ego and said that he was over me playing games with it. I feigned surprise and asked him to stay (a trick I learned to push him further away). Wentworth, naive to the situation at hand, happily chased him out of the door.

That was the last I hear from here. As you can imagine, it wasn’t a great loss on my part.

Please stay safe out there while navigating these odd dating times. Let me know about your post first date.

Yours always,

EM

Me Crush Monday (3): If I Could Hold You in My Arms–An Essay to My Younger Self

Happy Monday all,

I hope that you had a restful and restorative weekend. For this week’s Me Crush Monday, I want to encourage you to write a letter to your younger self. The inner child inside of all of us that still needs to be nurtured and loved.

Write as if you know their future and you want them to receive as much love as they possibly can in order to prepare themselves for it. Write it with an understanding that they are naive to what is to come. Write it with an understanding that you deserve to forgive yourself for all of the meandering that life’s journey has taken you upon.

I wrote my letter this weekend after an incredibly difficult time. Mental health is incredibly important and often times I forget that I am the product of my experiences. I needed to remind myself that I was doing the best that anyone could do given my life circumstances. I needed to remind myself that my best may not look too hot as this point in time. I needed to remind myself that I need to actively heal from all stages in my life. I needed to remind myself that there is no right way to be. This is where I am in life and I’m pretty damn proud. This is my life and I’m doing my best to live it.

I have included a short excerpt from my letter to my younger self to help inspire you in your writing:

“Dear EM,

It has been awhile since we last chatted. I wanted to check on you on. I know that you’ve been going through a lot lately. Dad is gone. I hate to be the one to tell you that he’s not coming back. I hope that you’re taking care of Winter. He’ll be your best bud to the very end. Appreciate your time with him because dog years are real. He will be with you until you must leave him to go on your journey to higher education. He will peacefully cross over the rainbow bridge knowing that he gave you all of the love that any dog can give an owner. Your heart will break again– you’ll get used to this feeling. “

Happy writing my friends!

Yours always,

EM

Lessons from Therapy(2): The Weight of Nothingness

I remember the first time that I encountered the phantom that is nothingness. An indescribable weight. Unlike Atlas, whose form is bent and broken under the weight of the world upon his shoulders, there was nothing there. An unspoken and unseen burden. A loss for words. A loneliness. You see, there are many burdens that swallow the soul and break down even the strongest of beings. Yet they seem to be comprehensible, but nothingness is everything without being. There is not a panacea for this malady. No finger to point towards blame. There is… .

It evokes a soft plea for help. Others don’t understand. They may have felt this nothingness at some point, yet in its non-existent uniformity it still bears weight differently for different people. Nothingness was the weight that beared down upon me the first time I ventured into my therapist’s office. It seemed as if my body defied Newton’s laws of gravity as I felt myself sinking below the couch that was meant to support me; it was a metaphor for the discomfort that permeated every aspect of my life. I barely made it into the office that day. I’m not even ashamed to admit that I was dragged out of bed and still wearing PJs. I was greeted with a hello and a sincere compliment about my ensemble. She was greeted with a deluge of tears. That was enough for me.

Very few words were exchanged that day. To the outside world, it would not be seen as progress. It would not be viewed as the inception of a strong bond. No one would see what I’d discovered for myself that day, and that’s okay. I wasn’t there for anyone else. I was barely there for myself. I understood that I found a space to cultivate the words that would slowly unload the invisible burden upon my shoulders.

The first lesson that I learned from therapy was the very fact that I needed it.

Yours always,

EM

P.S. I am a firm believer in therapy…even if you believe that you are not struggling with anything in your life. Perhaps you’ve encourage others in your life to seek it out, but felt that you were unworthy of the same service. You are. I encourage you to seek out help if you need it or even if you don’t. It’s nice to share in a space without judgement.

If You, or SOMEONE you Know is in Crisis Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741).

First Date Chronicles (2): Somebody Call Poison Control Because There’s Some Toxic Masculinity Invading My Space (Part I)

Happy Wednesday my friends,

I invite you to grab some popcorn, a glass of wine or three, and settle in to my date with the douche. Let’s call him Putin.

Part I: Enough Red Flags to Line an Ultramarathon

Before we begin, let me preface this story by taking full responsibility for ignoring the pre-date red flags. In my defense, he is Russian so I cut him a little slack 🤷🏽‍♀️.

I’ll list a few of the red flags below:

  1. His insistence that girls and guys cannot be friends…and that if we dated I would not be able to hang out with my closest guy friends 1:1.
  2. His very arbitrary points system. At first I thought that it was a joke about brownie points, but he’d reference it throughout multiple points in conversations because I was and I quote: “Trying out to be on his varsity team”.
  3. His insistence that cleaning would be 60/40 with me doing the heavy lifting. Furthermore, he said that was him being generous. Ideally, it would be 100/0. He also said that cooking would be 100/0.
  4. His insistence that if a girl is assaulted then it is her fault. She should know that every guy is potentially just trying to get in her pants…including her own father 🤢🤮.
  5. That I should stop dating other people and cancel my plans for the next week before we even had a chance to meet.
  6. Somehow all of his exes happened to be “crazy”
  7. His insistence that he has everything that a woman can want and that it’s okay for him to suggest changes to her. Any changes that she would suggest would likely be small and unimportant.
  8. His claim that he dated nothing but models and that he received acclaim for his skills as a lover

I know…I’m judging myself too. What the heck was I thinking?! I felt a responsibility to challenge his problematic ideas and a girl has got to eat 🤷🏽‍♀️.

Turns out the pre-date red flags were just the tip of the iceberg. Tune in next week for Part II to hear about the actual date.

I’d love to hear from you! Let me know about the types of red flags that you look for before a potential date.

Yours always,

EM

Some Potential Background Vocals